My research involves human subjects. What guidelines should I follow to avoid any misconduct?
The first step toward any work that involves human subjects would be to have all the necessary permissions and approvals in place. Next, you need to ensure the protection of the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of the participants enrolled in the study. All the researchers involved in the study should have the appropriate qualifications and competence in research methodology and should be aware of and comply with the scientific, medical, ethical, legal and social requirements of the research proposal.
With regards to preparation of the publication of the work- Manuscripts reporting data from research on human subjects must state, in the Methods section, what formal review and approval was granted by the appropriate research ethics committee(s). The treatment of these participants must be in accordance with the ethical and other requirements. When dealing with human subjects, investigators must strictly adhere to the policies outlined by the institutional ethics committee(s). Some of the relevant policies include:
- Obtaining informed consent from all subjects
- Protecting subjects from harm and discomfort
- Treating all experimental data confidentially
The authors should also provide the relevant characteristics, such as geographical locations, age ranges, genders, medical histories (if relevant), and the number of volunteering subjects. In case hospital records were used, authors should include the subjects’ basic health information and vital statistics at the beginning of the study. Authors should also state that written informed consent was provided by each subject.
These are just an overview of the essential things that need to be followed, for an in-detailed description you could refer to the ethical guidelines that are usually specified by authoritarian organizations such as the World Medical Association.
Additionally, if you need further help or guidance related to ethics involving human subjects you could avail of Enago’s premium consultation service- Enago Consult. We have a host of consultants from diverse subject areas who can guide you on the various nuances of research ethics and clarify your doubts.